Indian all-rounder Deepak Hooda, who was recently named in the squad for the ODI series against West Indies, has shared how Irfan Pathan played a crucial role behind his selection in the national team. In fact, Hooda opened up about his brilliant equation with the senior Pathan – Yusuf Pathan – as well and revealed how the Pathan duo supported him during his challenging phase of life.
Notably, Hooda went through a dark phase after pulling out of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) for Baroda due to a tiff with skipper Krunal Pandya. Six months after the fiasco, Hooda joined Rajasthan and impressed everyone with his consistent performances in SMAT and Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Hooda, who was earlier part of India’s squad for the Nidhas Trophy 2018 but didn’t get the chance to debut, stated both Irfan and Yusuf taught him to be patient and wait for the right opportunity as his time will come someday.
“People wondered, and doubts crept in pretty often, but Irfan Bhai always told me one line, Apna time aayega. I slowly got close to Irfan Bhai and Yusuf (Pathan) Bhai. They taught me to be calm, they made me realise the power of calmness. As a youngster, it was natural to be restless, and I was no exception. It was hampering my game. At times, I tried too hard. Tried to overdo things that weren’t needed,” said Hooda as quoted by The Indian Express.
Hooda further recalled how Irfan educated him on the importance of preparation and process, which brought discipline into his work routine and finally, it got paid off.
“I remember Irfan Bhai telling me the importance of preparation and process. Doing the same thing over and over again, without expecting anything from anyone. So, be it the gym sessions, training at the nets, and following a strict diet, I always maintained a good work ethic. It paid off,” added Hooda.